No Applause, Please!
Last week, I sent my first query letter and the first five pages of my YA novel to an agent. Two days later, I got my first rejection letter.
It was bound to happen. Odds are always against the first time novelist when approaching agents and publishers. And I expect to get many rejections in the coming years. So it really did not come as a surprise.
I am sure it was a form letter, though it was nicely worded. More of a “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of rejection, which anyone who survived high school knows is the kindest way to break someone’s heart. It even had the requisite “you and I may not work, but you and someone else will be a perfect match” worked into the second paragraph. A balm for any wounded ego.
I read through it a couple of times, and then read it to my husband. And I thought about it for quite a while trying to decide how I actually felt about it. I have come to realize that I am not hurt, and I am not deterred from attempting to submit again. I am actually a bit relieved. I have my first submission and rejection behind me and that is a big step.
I also confirmed something in my mind that I had always felt, but was never quite sure of. I will keep writing despite rejection. I didn’t detect any little voice that whispered, “see, you aren’t good enough” or “told you it wasn’t any good.” I didn’t feel the slightest tickle that made me want to pack up the computer and never take up the keys again.
My dream of writing, my urge to put words to the page has withstood a rejection – a flat-out thanks but no thanks, don’t call us, we won’t call you rejection. And it is still intact.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a close friend about following a dream, for me, writing, in her case, school. We came to the conclusion that fame and fortune are not what drives us. Instead, it is the doing and the journey that feeds us. I will more than likely always need my day job, but it is the writing itself that is truly healing and satisfying to my soul.
What is the dream that pulls at your heart? What do you want to do without any thought to the applause that may or may not follow? What feeds your soul?